Published on April 11th, 2014 | by gareth0
Three years ago, my wife and I moved down to Arizona to open the second office of Skewed and Reviewed. I remember clearly getting into town on a Tuesday evening and the following Saturday morning we had our first assignment in AZ, screening the movie “RIO”.
As we marked the anniversary of our arrival in the Valley of the Sun, it was ironic that “Rio 2” was flying into theaters at the same time and once again, we had a Saturday morning screening for the film albeit at different theaters.
The sequel picks up shortly after the events of the first film with Blu (Jess Eisenberg), and Jewel (Anne Hathaway), raising their children in a sanctuary in Rio. Their musical and colorful friends are all around them and are preparing for the upcoming carnival and the festivities that go along with it.
Blu learns that his former owner Linda (Leslie Mann), and her husband may have discovered others of Blu’s species in the deep jungle, which in turn leads Jewel to suggest a family vacation into the wild to help out.
For a city bird like Blu, venturing into the wild requires a fanny pack with items ranging from a G.P.S. to a utility knife and other modern items much to the chagrin of those around him.
The distant journey seems to be going well, until Blu crosses paths with Nigel (Jemaine Clement), who is still seething over his last encounter with Blu and schemes his revenge.
Blu and his family stumble upon a whole flock of their species and they eagerly embrace Jewel as she has returned home. Blu despite his best efforts does not fit in and struggles to gain acceptance from Jewel’s dad who is also the leader of the flock.
As if this was not enough problems for one bird to handle, an illegal organization is cutting down the forest which threatens the flock as well as Lind and her husband.
What follows is a madcap mix of comedy, music, and adventure as the film mixes very good lessons about environmental awareness and acceptance without ever being preachy.
The animation and 3D is solid and the supporting cast which included Bruno Mars, George Lopez, Jaime Foxx, Will I Am, Tracy Morgan, Andy Garcia and many others does a solid job.
The film took a while to get going and while the final 30 minutes pays off, the biggest trouble was staying with the film during the slower moments.
While it was very well presented and produced it does make me appreciate just how dialed in Disney is with their films as no matter how much they tried, none of the musical numbers in “Rio 2” were memorable and I stuggled to remember a single song shortly after the screener.
Since Disney is the leader in the industry for animated films and have been so for over 75 years, it would be unfair to expect the company behind the “Ice Age” series to meet the same standards.
While it may not be a timeless classic, “Rio 2” still has enough charm and enjoyment to make it an enjoyable film for younger viewers and fans of the first film, just as long as you temper your expectations.
3 stars out of 5